There are few things people like to do more on social media than to discuss their experience with an airline. Good or bad, people interact with social media to give their strong opinions about how an airline is doing. To this day, Synthesio prides itself on the three pillars that we were founded on— global, simple, and fun. With offices in North America, Europe, United Kingdom, and Asia, I decided what could be more global, simple and fun, than to do a social media listening deep-dive to determine what airline got the most positive sentiment, as well as the most negative sentiment, in each of those areas. For this study, I looked at social media listening data during a one-month period earlier this summer.
Southwest Airlines prides itself on being an affordable airline without sacrificing the comfort and enjoyment of traveling, which is most likely why it had the highest amount of positive sentiment with 62.34% of the posts about Southwest being positive.
On the flip side, American Airlines indeed seemed to struggle, as it had the most negative sentiment in all of the posts about the airlines. The social media listening data showed that American Airlines had an almost exact swap of sentiment with Southwest, as 56.89% of the posts about American were negative.
When looking at the data in Europe, it’s fascinating to note that of the best and worst airlines that will be mentioned here, the one that had the most positive sentiment and the one with the most negative sentiment, are international-based international airlines.
The airline that received the most positive posts was Singapore Airlines, with 75.28% of the posts about them that originated out of Europe is positive.
However, Delta Airlines clearly needs to work on its international flights in-and-out of Europe, as 63.05% of all posts about Delta in Europe were negative.
Interestingly enough, Delta was not the favorite or least favorite in North America.
Before Brexit, I would have included the United Kingdom in Europe, however since the UK is withdrawing from the European Union, I narrowed down the social media listening data that I collected to separate Europe and the United Kingdom as two different areas. However, just like Europe, the best and worst airlines that will be mentioned are not local to the United Kingdom.
Qatar Airlines was the favorite airline of UK travelers on social media as it received a massive 80.24% positive sentiment on the posts written about them.
While once again, Delta Airlines showed that its international flights need some improvement, as 69.08% of all posts about Delta in the UK were negative. However, it is interesting to note that Delta just barely edged out UK-based British Airways, which had 67.85% negative sentiment on all of its social media mentions.
Asia has more in common with the United States than it does with Europe and the United Kingdom, as their favorite airline is a local Asian airline, not an international airline based out of a different region.
Japan Airlines is the clear-cut favorite airline of Asia, with a whopping 92.68% positive sentiment in posts about the airline. With only 7.32% of posts being negative, the international airline is hands down the most locally-preferred airline that I saw in any region throughout this study of social media listening for the best and worst airlines. Other airlines should take a good look at Japan Airlines to see what it is doing, and why it is generating so much positive sentiment from its travelers.
The least favorite airline in Asia is American Airlines, as 56.27% of the posts about it that came from Asia were negative.
While all of this data is interesting and makes for cool factoids, what can brands learn from this study? Synthesio has often talked about the need to segment your audience when creating new campaigns, primarily when you are working in multiple geographies, as people’s views, requirements, and desires differ from region-to-region. For example, American Airlines was the favorite in Europe and the least favorite in Asia. This shows that American has a better understanding of its European market than it does its Asian market. If I had to run a campaign on behalf of American Airlines, the first thing I would do is separate those audiences and study the differences between them so that I could better target the Asian audience and improve American Airlines’ reputation in Asia.
One of the most effective ways for airlines to increase the positive sentiment around their brand is to utilize social media listening as it is crucial to the travel industry. Learn more about social listening within the travel and tourism industry.